written by Elena Diaz and Natalia Blauvelt.


You can also read this article in Spanish or Russian.


On July 16, 2021, Federal Judge Andrew Hanen ruled that DACA was unlawful and thus prevented Department of Homeland Security from processing new applications. The judge found that DHS did not have the power to create DACA and by doing so it had violated the APA (Administrative Procedure Act).

Read on to find out exactly what this ruling means for DACA recipients and applicants. 

If you are a DACA recipient: 

As long as your DACA application was approved prior to July 16, 2021, your DACA is still valid.
You can still apply for renewal.
You can also potentially request permission to travel abroad, (advanced parole)

If you have a DACA renewal application pending:

This ruling does not affect you. You can keep renewing your DACA until we learn otherwise. 

If you have an initial pending application: 

Unfortunately, this ruling means your application is on hold indefinitely because the USCIS is not permitted to approve any initial DACA applications and the accompanying work permit (Employment Authorization Document). 
At the moment, we believe that all initial DACA applications will remain pending. We do not believe that the USCIS will deny or close the case, nor will they give you a refund of the filing fees. 

If you are eligible for DACA but you have not applied yet: 

If you were planning on applying to DACA for the first time, you can still submit your application but, as mentioned above, USCIS will not be able to process it while Judge Hanen’s ruling remains in place. 


How this ruling affects you if you have Advance Parole:

If you have advance parole (travel permit) through DACA, your advance parole is still valid. 
If you have a pending advance parole application based on approved DACA, it should still be processed.

Outstanding Questions:

  • Currently, it is unknown if those who let their DACA status lapse for more than a year can reapply. In the past, USCIS said that individuals in that situation should file a new initial application.
  • It is unclear whether DACA recipients who travel on advance parole will be allowed to re-enter the U.S. on their return. They should be allowed to re-enter, just as most DACA recipients in the past successfully re-entered the U.S., but we don’t have case examples yet. If you have DACA and advance parole, we recommend that you discuss any international travel with an experienced attorney before leaving the U.S. 

What’s next? 

President Biden stated that this ruling is “deeply disappointing.” 
“The Department of Justice intends to appeal this decision in order to preserve and fortify DACA. And, as the court recognized, the Department of Homeland Security plans to issue a proposed rule concerning DACA in the near future,” said President Joe Biden in an official statement.
While we are happy to see President Biden condemn the ruling, we hope to see more action from the Biden administration amidst this contentious decision.

What can I do? 

Contact your local Senator or Congressperson. Tell them how this ruling affects you, the Dreamers, and why we need Congress to pass immigration reform to protect DACA applicants, Dreamers, and all undocumented immigrants. 
Find your Senator or Congressperson and reach out to them to make your voice heard.

In Summary:

If you have DACA, this ruling does not affect your status.
If you have a renewal application pending, your case should still be processed. 
If you have an initial DACA application pending, your application is on hold. No decision will be made at the moment.
If you were planning on applying for DACA the first time, assuming you meet the requirements, you should be able to submit your application, but it will not yet be processed.  

Any questions? 

If you need assistance with your DACA or advanced parole application, we suggest you talk to an experienced immigration attorney. 
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